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  1. #1

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    Fuji 645 vs MF SLR 645

    I'm thinking about grabbing a 35mm/28mm MF camera for handheld/street use. I'm torn between the Fuji and Pentax/Mamiya 645 cameras. The first one has the compactness and mirror-less operation, but it is essentially a MF point-and-shoot; the latter has manual focus and (I think) better lenses but they are much bulkier in comparison.

    I'm not a street or portrait photographer so stealth and 1st rate bokeh are not my priorities. I just want a MF camera that I can walk around the city with.

    Don't see too many complaints about either camera, really, but for those of you who have or had tried both, which do you prefer?
    Last edited by puketronic; 11-30-2011 at 10:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    I've got both Fuji GA645 and a 3-lens M645 kit. Use the Fuji for walk-and-shoot, the SLRs are much more involving to shoot.

    The Fuji lenses are AT LEAST as good as either pentax or mamiya.

  3. #3
    flatulent1's Avatar
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    I use a Mamiya 645 Pro with waist level finder and crank for the rare street shooting I do. Works fine. Staring down into the finder makes it a little less obvious that I'm taking a picture than holding it at eye level does.
    Fred Latchaw
    Seattle WA


    I am beginning to resent being referred to as 'half-fast'.
    Whatever that's supposed to mean.

  4. #4
    agfarapid's Avatar
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    I've got a GS645 as well as a couple of M645 bodies--a Super and the original Mamiya 645. The Fuji is small and compact for the street (mine is not one of the auto everything models) whereas I use my Mamiya's usually with the WL finder which is also good for unobtrusive street shooting. Which one I take usually depends on how light I want to travel. I generally use the Mamiya's for landscapes and my Fuji for quite street. It's great for shooting in museums and art galleries!

  5. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by puketronic View Post
    Don't see too many complaints about either camera, really, but for those of you who have or had tried both, which do you prefer?
    You can't really go wrong with any of these, they're all very fine. I would think about the light (do you need fast lenses?), how much reach you need (do you need a tele?), and whether interchangeable lenses and backs are important. Also think about where you plan to be in a year or two i.e. whether you will augment the camera with another body or another lens.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  6. #6

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    A Bronica ETR series with a 50mm lens and a simple prism is a nice street shooter. Waist level if you want to be tied to horizontal format and the reversal works for you, AE prism if you want to not think about metering. No need to add a grip, I found.

    I've found with both a Bronica and more so a TLR, looking down into a waist level finder makes you disappear from people's radar on the street all in all.

    I used a Fuji 645 for a few days.Very nice, very quick, great lens. That kind of view finder is a very different way of framing than an SLR's (or TlR's) ground glass. I just started using a Fuji GW690 on the street and it's a kick.

  7. #7

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    Lens quality on any of the Fuji's is superb, so that need not be an issue in your decision.

  8. #8

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    The Pentax 645N and 35mm combo is the only reason I am shooting MF in my mix of formats and cameras. The lens is spectacular and a bargain (even though they're now selling for nearly twice what I picked mine up for some years back.) The camera is not physically larger than a large 35mm SLR like an F5. The viewfinder is better than a 35mm SLR (yes, even the F5). It is very handholdable down to very slow shutter speeds as it has a well-damped mirror, at least it is for me (I've gotten tack sharp results to 1/8s, handheld).
    Can't speak to the Fuji, but two things an SLR has over a RF is no focusing parallax error, and no parallax framing differences.

  9. #9

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    Hmmm thanks for all of your thoughts and opinions. I'm going to be visiting NYC in a few months and I'm wanting a wide-lens mf camera that doesn't scream photographer. The quickness and compactness of the fuji rangefinder is hard to beat for a 120 camera outside of the much more expensive Mamiya and Bronica RF's.

  10. #10
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    I have a Fuji GA645zi and had a Pentax 645 at one time. The good about the Fuji is the size and ease of use. The zoom lens is as good as most primes. Shooting handheld, the lack of mirror probably makes more difference than the quality of the lens anyway. The bad thing about my Fuji is the loud focusing and film advance. I'm not sure how the other Fuji 645s are in that regard. The Pentax is amazingly quiet. I generally use my Fuji handheld for the kind of stuff you are talking about. Here is a shot at about 1/15s at 55mm. The relatively slow lens is really not much of a hindrance since it is easy to handhold at a pretty slow shutter speed. Here is an image with more average light. This was also at 55mm with an orange filter (I think). I was riding a bike and just had it slung over my shoulder with some film and filters in my pocket. Tough to do that with an SLR.

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